Humble Hussey always felt at home in the shadows

THE ultimate cricket utilitarian, Michael Hussey wants to be remembered as a ''team man'', and says he revelled in, rather than resented, so often having his achievements overshadowed by those of his Australian colleagues.

The 37-year-old will farewell Test cricket in Sydney for his 79th and final match in the baggy green cap, starting on Thursday, having been a mainstay of the top and middle order since his belated debut in 2005. As Australia comes to terms with life after Hussey so soon after the exit of Ricky Ponting, he might well be more appreciated in retirement then he has been in his playing days. The West Australian has 19 Test hundreds to his name, but on at least half a dozen of those occasions his personal milestones were overshadowed by the feats of his teammates and events in general.

He scored overlooked hundreds when Jason Gillespie made a double ton in Bangladesh and when Adam Gilchrist raced to the second quickest century of all time in Perth. This year Michael Clarke has been a constant shadow, with his extraordinary streak of triple and double centuries masking the importance of Hussey's own four three-figure scores. That is just fine with Hussey.

''I'm more happy just to hide in the background, just do my job, hopefully help Australia win games,'' the left-hander said on Sunday. ''That was my focus, that was what I enjoyed most about the game, and I've openly told my teammates about that.

''After we've won a Test match or a one-day series, sitting back in the rooms celebrating with them is my favourite moment of the game. Certainly individual milestones and scores are very, very rewarding but the thing that I really love the most is the comradeship with teammates.

''I think I'd like to be remembered as someone who loved the game, a team man. I really want to be remembered as a team man.''

Such is Hussey's world view that when asked to name the highlights of his outstanding international career he lists first accomplishments of the team, before getting to his own as a footnote.

''The 2007 World Cup was just an amazing experience, the way the team played throughout that tournament was just incredible cricket,'' he said. ''Being part of an Ashes series where we won 5-0 here in Australia and to play with some of the true legends and greats of the game like Warne and McGrath, Gilchrist, Langer, Hayden and Ponting etc. They are probably the two things that stand out the most.

''From a personal point of view, I think my favourite moment would be hitting the winning runs in the second Test in Adelaide in that Ashes series [in 2006-07]. I'm not sure exactly how many I made but that feeling I got, for us to win that amazing Test match, and to be able to hit the winning runs was a fantastic honour.''

It is with the same team-minded principles that Hussey approaches his last hurrah, the third Test against Sri Lanka starting at the SCG. A 20th Test hundred would be nice, but that is not top of his New Year's Test resolutions. What does he want?

''To get a win,'' he said. ''And to sing the song one more time, that would probably be the most pleasing thing.''


April 2006: Hussey scores 182 against Bangladesh in Chittagong but the attention falls squarely on Jason Gillespie as the fast bowler top scores with 201 not out.

December 2006: His 103 against England in Perth takes second fiddle as Adam Gilchrist smacks 102 off 59 balls, the second-fastest Test century of all time.

August 2009: Hussey's gallant 121 in Australia's second innings at the Oval is quickly forgotten as England clinch the Ashes 2-1.

September 2011: Hussey's superb 142 against Sri Lanka in Pallekele is overshadowed by Shaun Marsh's 141 on his Test debut.

January 2012: An unbeaten 150 at the SCG is left for the fine print by Michael Clarke's 329 not out against India, as well as Ricky Ponting's dramatic dive to end his own Test century drought.

November 2012: In Brisbane, another ton from Hussey in the middle order is relegated by Clarke's unbeaten 259 and Ed Cowan's maiden Test hundred.

November 2012: A second Clarke double century in a row, this time against South Africa in Adelaide, takes the limelight from Hussey's 103, as does David Warner's rapid-fire 119.

This story Humble Hussey always felt at home in the shadows first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.